Dr. Howarth Bouis

Acting CEO, Harvest Plus (2016 World Food Prize Laureate

Dr. Howarth Bouis was awarded the World Food Prize in 2016, along with colleagues from the International Potato Center, in recognition of his efforts over 25 years to promote and implement biofortification, the interdisciplinary, global effort to improve nutrition and health by developing and disseminating micronutrient-rich staple food crops.   Bouis helped pioneer this concept in the early 1990s and devoted his career to turning this idea into a global movement that currently reaches more than 30 million people in rural farming families in developing countries. The vision is that most of the staple food crop supply in developing countries will be biofortified, with the hope of reaching several hundred million more beneficiaries in the coming decade.

Dr. Bouis is the founding director of HarvestPlus, a joint program of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (Washington, D.C.) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) (Cali, Colombia).  Using conventional breeding techniques, HarvestPlus and its 400+ partners deliver staple food crops – including beans, cassava, maize, pearl millet, rice, sweet potato, and wheat — that provide higher amounts of vitamin A, iron, or zinc, three micronutrients identified by the World Health Organization as most lacking in diets globally.  Biofortified crops have been released or are being tested in 60 countries around the world.

Dr. Bouis currently serves as the interim CEO of HarvestPlus.  He also serves on HarvestPlus’ Program Advisory Committee and chairs the Board of Trustees of the Micronutrient Forum.  Prior to serving as HarvestPlus Interim CEO, Bouis was an Institute Fellow at IFPRI and guest scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, residing in the Philippines.  In 2017, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, by the University of Greenwich.

Dr. Bouis received his B.A. in economics from Stanford University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University’s Food Research Institute.   After receiving his PhD, Bouis was offered a postdoctoral position in 1982 in the Food Consumption and Nutrition Division of IFPRI to undertake a two-year research project on the Philippines. He subsequently worked as a Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow in the same division. His research concentrated on understanding how economic factors affect food demand and nutrition outcomes, particularly in Asia. Insights gained during this research led him to propose the concept of biofortification.

Prior to beginning his graduate studies, Bouis worked for three years as a volunteer in the Philippines with Volunteers in Asia.